Report: Leonard Fournette Contract Option Declined by Jaguars amid Trade Rumors

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorMay 1, 2020

Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette during the first half of an NFL football game in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Ben Margot/Associated Press

The Jacksonville Jaguars will not pick up running back Leonard Fournette's fifth-year option, per ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Fournette, whom the Jags took fourth overall in the 2017 draft, has amassed 3,640 yards from scrimmage and 19 touchdowns in 36 games over three seasons.

He helped lead Jacksonville to the AFC Championship Game in his rookie campaign after an upset win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in which he scored three touchdowns.

However, Jacksonville is embarking on a new era following an 11-21 record over its past two seasons, and many of the players from that 2017 team are elsewhere.

Moving Fournette is apparently on the agenda.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported April 20 that the Jags "had trade talks centered around RB Leonard Fournette for more than a month."

However, both Rapoport and ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reported that no team has been interested in a deal for the ex-LSU star at this time.

Fournette apparently responded to the trade rumors on April 28 with this tweet:

7⃣ Leonard Fournette @_fournette

I don’t know what the future holds but I promise that every day I’m gonna bust my ass. I know it’s a business and I’ll be ready at my best for the next season #BigBN https://t.co/c9lFr2Gh5U

As for now, Fournette leads the running back depth chart ahead of newly acquired Chris Thompson (per ESPN's Jeremy Fowler) and Ryquell Armstead.

For his part, Jags head coach Doug Marrone appears ready to welcome Fournette back into the fold for 2020, telling SiriusXM NFL Radio the following:

SiriusXM NFL Radio @SiriusXMNFL

"I look at Leonard coming in here as a really motivated player" #Jaguars HC Doug Marrone on his RB @_fournette Audio #DUUUVAL https://t.co/a2zWarThAS

Thompson is a talented pass-catching back when healthy, notably snagging at least 35 passes each of the past five years for the Washington Redskins. He has missed 17 games due to injury since 2017 but has averaged 6.4 yards per touch during his seven-year career.

Armstead, who the Jags picked in the fifth round of the 2019 draft, gained just 108 rushing yards on 35 carries (3.1 yards per attempt) in his rookie year. However, he showed his versatility by catching 14 passes for 144 yards and two touchdowns.

They'll both take a back seat to Fournette in 2020 unless the Jags find a trading partner, but all signs point to him being elsewhere in 2021.